The Pie and Pastry Bible is book #2 for week 2 of my reviews. I’m a huge fan of Rose Levy Beranbaum and I practically have her entire book collection. As with her other “bibles”, this is a huge book with over 300 recipes. There is an entire chapter just on crusts. What I like most about Beranbaum’s books is that weights are listed along with the volume measurement. Weights are much more accurate as 1 cup of flour can be anywhere from 4-6 ounces — a difference that can make something dry instead of moist.
Instructions in this book are very explicit and the tone is very methodical. It seems people either love or hate this tone. The instructions can get wordy and this is sometimes confusing. I have to admit I don’t like her method for making pie crusts. She has you put all the ingredients in a big ziplock bag and use that to knead everything. I’d rather much feel the dough under my hands. The bag is there to prevent stickiness and you can use food safe gloves instead. The resulting dough is really easy to roll out and shape. Her favourite crust is the cream cheese crust, but my favourite crust in her book is the deluxe flaky one. Very flaky and tender.
I’ve made several items from the book and they have all been tasty. Noteworthy ones are the pumpkin pie, peach pie, and the cheddar cheese crust is amazing. One possible drawback is that a lot of these recipes are lengthy and usually complicated. The results are worth the labour in my opinion, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy book, this is not for you.
Overall, if you’re looking to perfect your pastry and pie making skills, this is the book that should be on your shelf. While my pies won’t win any beauty pageants any time soon, they are pretty darn tasty.
I finally made my way to Fiesta Farms and spotted Meyer lemons. I’ve only heard about these guys from food blogs. Meyer lemons are supposed to be sweeter, it’s a cross between an orange and a lemon.
Lemon meringue pie was destined to be.
Lemon meringue is probably one of my most favourite kind of pie. I may even like it better than pumpkin. It’s the meringue piled high and when it’s toasted, the crunch and lightness that you get in your mouth that I love. I even like the slight tartness of a lemon, it balances the sweetness of the meringue.
I’m terrible at making pies look pretty. I roll out the pie dough that’s never quite circular in shape and my fluting is pitiful. It’s all about practice I guess, but maybe I should give up and make tarts instead?
I rolled out the pie dough too thin so to get a piece you grab a spoon and scoop it out onto a plate. To make matters worse, I left my Italian meringue unattended while I was whipping it and didn’t turn out quite right. Despite appearances, it’s a very smooth filling and isn’t too tart. I’d prefer it to be more tart, so I’ll use less sugar if I make it with Meyer lemons. The meringue is very light and it isn’t the usual overly sweet meringue.
I’d like to try this recipe again — it’d be nice to have a pie you could cut and serve instead of scooping it out.
When I made my first turnovers from The Pie and Pastry Bible, they were good but being a puff pastry fan, they didn’t satisfy me as much as I would have liked. With leftover apples that needed to be used up as well as some sour cream, I turned to Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours cookbook.
This cookbook was on my wishlist for years before I got it as a Christmas present. Then it sat on the shelf for months. I’ve made a handful of these recipes and I’m not too sure why it gets neglected so much, most of the recipes I have made are “repeat worthy”.
If you’re interested in the cookbook, the Tuesdays with Dorie blog has a long list of recipes that you can find in the book. It’s a quick (maybe not so quick with all the delicious photos?) way of seeing if the book is for you.
These Flaky Apple Turnovers caught my eye because it didn’t require me making puff pastry (a somewhat lengthy process) but still claimed to be like puff pastry. The turnovers turned out so well that this recipe will be my “go to”. I even managed to save a few to be baked later. Even though there’s only 2 of us in this household, these turnovers disappeared very quickly.
Tip: Make sure you don’t get any filling on the edges. You won’t be able to pinch the dough closed properly and they will open up in the oven and you will be very sad.
I used to love those McDonald’s apple turnovers as a kid. What I didn’t love was when you bit into the piping hot filling and have the roof of your mouth peel. I tried an apple turnover many years later to try and bring back nostalgic memories, but they’re never the same. Instead of that same delicious memory, I got something kind of stale and gross.
I made turnovers to prep me for the two apple pies I had to make. The turnovers are from the Pie and Pastry Bible from Rose Levy Beranbaum which hasn’t been as used as much as The Bread Bible and The Cake Bible. I can’t believe I’ve made 16 recipes from The Bread Bible and 19 from The Cake Bible. Although to be fair, the latter includes frostings and jams.
The recipe uses the flaky cream cheese pie crust which can be found here (pdf). The turnover recipe is similar to the pie recipe where you macerate the apples in sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon and then boil it down until it gets all thick and syrupy which you toss onto the apples.
I think I like a puff pastry better for my turnovers. I have some leftover apples so there are more turnovers in the very near future. The apple filling was also good, but I think I’d increase the sugar a bit and maybe chop the apples into chunks because it’s a little weird for the book to use the term tablespoon for spooning the filling onto the pastry when the apples were in slices.
I had R’s family over for dinner. This time I decided to not try all new recipes to save me a little stress but to make one new thing — a peach pie. I knew it would be a lengthy process. I started before 10am and the pie came out of the oven before 7pm. It was supposed to sit at room temperature for 3 hours prior to cutting, but dessert obviously couldn’t wait that long so everyone was served a very messy slice.
Here’s how the day went:
– Start pie dough. I was going to do it the night before, but I was already tired from making the soup that was to be served for dinner so I didn’t do it.
– Read instructions that pie dough is best when refrigerated overnight. Oops.
– Freeze ingredients for pie dough. I’ve never done this before and I probably would have skipped this if it wasn’t scorching hot in my place.
– Make dough and let dough chill. I may have made the dough wrong because it says it’s done when dough is slightly stretchy. It stretched the teeniest amount before it broke but I didn’t want to overwork the dough so I left it as is. I wish there was a YouTube clip for this.
– Roll out bottom crust, place in pan and chill. Curse my terrible pie rolling skills.
– Make filling and place in crust, then roll out top crust. Have top crust tear and do a sloppy job of patching it together.
– Chill pie. Again.
– Pie is done when juices bubble thickly out of the slashes of the pie. An extra 10 minutes and it still wasn’t happening. I didn’t want the peaches to be mushy so I just took it out.
Despite all the mishaps, this was an amazing pie. I would do it all over again. I’d also like to practice my pastry skills so I can be half decent at it. I sometimes forget that it takes practice before you get good at something.
I remember when I tried to make my ex-boyfriend pancakes for the first time. I beat the batter until it had no lumps (the best way to turn pancakes into frisbees).
“I’m sorry, I can’t do this”, he told me and took his plate of pancakes and dumped them in the garbage.
Thankfully with practice I’ve gotten better at making pancakes.
Recipe here (the recipe if for a galette, but in the Pie and Pastry Bible it’s put in a 9″ pan).